My Vegetarian Oasis After a Long (and I Mean LONG!) Dundas West Trek – Lemongrass Fried Rice at King’s Café

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Although I love King’s Café very much, I did not actually intend to eat there this past week.  So there is a story here.  If you’ve been reading and following my blog, you know how deeply I love the city and the joy it brings me to explore and learn as much as I possibly can.  However, my exploration of the city and my love for all things food will sometimes get the best of me and I will do crazy things! 

This past Monday I went back to Bunner’s Bake Shop in the morning for a chocolate chip cookie creamie sandwich (because I can seriously eat these babies every day oh my god.  Creamie blog post coming soon!) and then proceeded to go on the longest trek of my life within a morning window.  And when I say long trek, I mean long!  I thought to myself, “I want to go back to Kensington Market but eh, I’d really rather not use another bus token to get there.  Let’s walk it and see how far I can get!  And I can explore Dundas West to my heart’s content!  I can take pictures!  Yeah, let’s do that!”  That was one heck of a motivational talk I had with myself.  So I put my mitts on, stuck my knitted hat on my head and went on my way and by the end of it, I walked from Keele St. alllll the way back east to Spadina!  In one morning.  On foot.  And it was chilly out.  To put this into perspective for those who don’t live in Toronto or who only have a vague sense of direction, I walked a total of 6.3 km!  I was, and still am, uber proud of myself 😀

Needless to say, I was one tired cookie by lunch time!  I was even shocked with how ambitious I was taking that long of a walk through the city, good lordy.  I made my way back to Kensington Market, walked into the vegetarian oasis that is my lovely King’s Café, and collapsed into a cushy chair.  It was time for some food and the belly eagerly wanted some lemongrass fried rice!  I’ve written about King’s twice on the blog since I started it, once back in December on Christmas eve and another time in January, not to mention I took my family there back in February for the first time.  For the past few months I’ve been craving the lemongrass fried rice from their special winter menu because my family and I loved it so much when we ordered it.  I quickly flipped through the menu and was ecstatic to find that their winter menu selections were still there.  So I happily ordered the lemongrass fried rice.  I’m no fool; I wasn’t about to pass  up something that 1) I was craving for months and 2) that was probably not going to be around for much longer!

This rice seriously kicks the ass of anything with meat in it.  Trust me when I say that any meat-eating person won’t miss the meat and any vegetarian and vegan will prance around the room with glee over it.  My dad and brother, who are “manly men” meat-eaters, loved this rice.  And this also isn’t your typical mixed veggies vegetable fried rice either.  The lemongrass fried rice has amazing ginger flavour to it and the edameme beans and strips and chunks of bean curd MAKE this rice. 

The dish has goji berries in it as well and although they give the dish another dimension of flavour with a bit of sweetness and a spicy, minty bite, I actually think the rice could do without them because the rest of the dish is so amazing on its own.  The bean curd in the rice just blows me away.  It’s crispy and it gives the rice its body and protein.  I love it because it’s different from any other fried rice I’ve had, it’s flavourful without being greasy, and it’s fresh quality.  You get a big plate of it (I think even 2 people could share this!) with some freshly steamed broccoli and it’s a meal that doesn’t make you feel like collapsing into hibernation afterward.

Another thing that I absolutely love about King’s Café is how they nail the ginger flavour.  Most times I find ginger to be too overwhelming and with too much of that spicy bite to it.  The way they use ginger here is fantastic though and it’s demonstrated in the fried rice as well as in their ginger “chicken” dish which I would recommend to anyone.  It was my mom and brother’s favourite when I ate here with my family, and it’s also one of my mine.  I guzzled down glasses of lime water and wolfed down half my plate of rice and took the rest back with in a doggy bag (which by the way is adorable, ha).  This was the perfect meal to refuel my tired (but happy!) body last Monday after that crazy long trek through Dundas West.  Look out for pictures from my walk, as well as my Bunner’s Bake Shop creamie post!  I hope everyone is having a great start to the long Easter weekend!

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King’s Café is located at 192 Augusta Ave (accessible from both Dundas and College St, just west of Spadina) and is open at 11:30am seven days a week until 9:30pm from Monday-Saturday, and until 9pm on Sundays.         

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Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice…Or Naughty! Spice Cupcakes and Baked Apple Tea from David’s Tea

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Sugar and spice and all things…naughty?!  Oh no no, eating cupcakes is not naughty at all 😉  Indulgent and delicious, yes, but not naughty.  It just so happens that my cupcake from The Cupcake Shoppe was named Naughty n’ Spice (how cheeky!) and it was all sorts of creaminess and yummy.  If carrot cake had a spunky sister, this would be her.  To brighten up a dreary fall day late last year, I enjoyed The Cupcake Shoppe’s seasonal special, Naughty n’ Spice, with creamy cinnamon vanilla buttercream frosting adorned with little red sprinkles, and moist spiced cake with lots of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  It was light and fluffy and the spices really came through in the cake.  The combination of creamy buttercream and moist carrot cake-like cake just made me devour it and that’s saying a lot because I eat really slow!

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I’ve posted about The Cupcake Shoppe and their cupcakes twice in my blog since I started writing and I’ve been visiting this lovely cupcakery for over half a year now.  I’ve tried a number of their sweet little cakes and do I ever have my favourites!  So far I’ve tried After Ate (mint chocolate), Coco Loco (coconut buttercream with shredded coconut on vanilla or chocolate cake), Cookie Dough (cookie dough buttercream with vanilla chocolate chip cake), Lov’n Lemon (lemon buttercream on vanilla or chocolate cake), Mango Madness (mango buttercream on vanilla or chocolate cake), Opposites Attract (chocolate frosting on vanilla cake), and finally, Red Velvet (cream cheese frosting on red cake).

Out of all the ones I’ve tried, my top 3 are 1)  Red Velvet, 2) Cookie Dough, and 3) Naughty n’ Spice.  I loved this cupcake and you can bet I’m excited to eat some more of them come next fall!  Not to mention the seasonal aspect of the cupcake and tea made this scrapbook layout so much fun to craft and it totally gave me an excuse to play with my cute cookie alphabet Martha Stewart stickers, and fall apple stickers! 😀

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Because David’s Tea is only several shops away from The Cupcake Shoppe, I have become quite accustomed to toting a cupcake to the tea shop and ordering a tea to go with it, and I have an old friend of mine who I used to nosh with to thank for this as she eagerly sparked this idea over half a year ago.  I then sit there and eat it and guzzle down my tea.  And then waddle out the door with my tummy full and my bladder the size of a watermelon.  Tea and cupcake times are absolutely lovely 😀

Funny thing is, I often don’t scrap my cupcake photos.  Most of them time I slip them into a photo album and admire them from there, but getting cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe and having them with a tea from David’s Tea is incredibly enjoyable and makes for some really inspiring scrapbook layout ideas!  I’m a total nerd when it comes to this because the same way I match my accessories to my outfit, I match my cupcake to my tea.  It’s true!  I’ll walk into the tea shop and either find something I like that complements the cupcake, or I’ll choose something that matches the cupcake flavour.  And what goes amazing with spice cake?  Apples!  Apple cinnamon is a tried and true combination that just works in so many desserts dishes whether it’s pie, crumble, or granola and cereal.

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It was a chilly fall day and I wanted to take advantage of David’s Tea‘s new seasonal winter tea list and as luck would have it, they had an apple tea!  So I ordered the Baked Apple tea to go with my Naughty n’ Spice cupcake and had myself a jolly good time!  And as the cupcake shot into the top 3 of my Cupcake Shoppe list of favourites, so did the Baked Apple Tea.  I mentioned here in my first David’s Tea post that my favourite tea thus far was the Crème Brulée and the Baked Apple quickly claimed the top 2 spot.  I had mine iced and it was like sipping sweet apple pie.  At times, some of the teas can come across as a bit diluted in flavour when iced, but this one is fantastic iced.  It was a yummy way to spend a fall afternoon; apple tea + spice cupcake certainly equals everything nice 😉

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The Cupcake Shoppe is located in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood at 2417 Yonge St., north of Eglinton on the east side of Yonge St.  The Eglinton David’s Tea location is only a hop, skip, and step away from the cupcakery at 2389 Yonge St.  David’s Tea is located at 4 other locations in and around Toronto, Scarborough, and Thornhill.  Click here for a list of the other locations.

Scrapbooking materials used: mint green cardstock (Recollections); poppy red construction paper; apple and apple tree stickers (Sticko); cookie alphabet stickers (Martha Stewart Crafts); crystal adhesive gems (Studio 18); metallic gel pen; black Sharpie marker.